Rainy Day Cookies and Stew–necessarily, in that order!

"Raining" courtesy of Peter Griffin/Public Domain Pictures.net

So we are experiencing our first rain of the season here in Los Angeles. Save for venturing out for a Yoga class, Ms. Foodie is fortunate enough to be ensconced at home with her two furry babies, with visions of culinary delights dancing in her head.

The afternoon started with test-driving a recipe for Almond Butter Cookies from a blog called Good Life Eats. Author Katie Goodman does some killer desserts, and she has some great Holiday offerings that Ms. Foodie plans to try as that Season draws near.

Ms. Goodman gives some great information about an Almond Butter called “Barney Butter“, that is Peanut free. Many nut butter manufacturers still use the same processing plant to do Peanut products along with the others, so if you have a Peanut allergy, even trace amounts can be dangerous. Thankfully, me and Mr. Foodie do not–we just enjoy the smooth taste of Almond Butter. Almond Butter is also easier on the digestion.

Ms. Foodie’s personal choice is Trader Joe’s Almond Butter with Flaxseed Oil. It made the cookie mixture a bit less firm when forming it into balls, but oh, what melt-in-your-mouth delight! Chased with a glass of cold milk, it was a perfect slice of yummy!

And what’s a rainy day without some nice, hearty stew? After finding uninspiring offerings on the food blogs, Ms. Foodie did her own thing with stuff in the Store. Kitchen-Cabinet Cooking at it’s finest! Two leftover lemon Chicken Breasts, a cup of mixed vegetables, Potato Gnocchi, one can of Cream of Mushroom and Garlic soup, a half cup of Sour Cream, and a tablespoon of Coconut Oil.

I threw it all in a Crock Pot, set it to low, and left the ingredients to meld.  Stews and soups always bring such lovely smells to the home!

Didn’t cancel out the Almond Butter cookies though… good thing the batch made three dozen! Mr. Foodie is doing the Happy Dance.

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Meals on Veal: Veal Breast over Gnocchi

I am having a good time with Meals on Veal these days.  From spare ribs, to ground veal, to breast chops, it is opening up a whole new tableau of recipes and gourmet delights!

Today’s selection involves the Veal Breast, sliced thick.  I brined the chops for a few hours in water, Sea Salt, Basil, Brown Sugar, and a bit of Chardonnay, but overnight is even better, and always yields a tenderer, juicier cut of meat.  Reserve about 1/4 to a 1/2 cup of the brining for cooking.

I heated about  two tablespoons of olive oil with ground flaxseed to add a nutty flavor to the breasts, then placed them in a non-stick skillet to cook and simmer.  After about five minutes of simmering, I poured a 1/4 cup of white wine over the chops, cooking until a nice aroma of the wine soaked chops filled the kitchen, then poured that reserve brining over the chops, covered the skillet, and lowered the heat a bit more to simmer for 20 more minutes.

While the chops were doing their thing, I took a half a loaf of French bread and cut a hole in the center, then stuffed it with shredded Sharp Cheddar, and replaced some of the bread middle.  I wrapped it loosely in aluminum foil and set it aside.

In the meantime, I put water on the boil for the Potato Gnocchi, and rinsed my vegetable of choice: yellow and green beans, ready for steaming.

Still keeping an eye on the Veal Breasts and turning mid-cook, I let the broth begin to bubble before adding about two teaspoons of cornstarch to thicken the broth a bit and cooking for five more minutes.   Then, I turned off the flame and let the chops settle.

Perfect time to place that French bread in the toaster oven to warm the bread and melt the cheese; about 20 minutes.

And Gnocchi takes less than 10 minutes to cook in a rolling boil; so once they were plumped and drained and the veggies steamed, I arranged them on the plate and drizzled the Veal Breast and Gnocchi with a bit of broth.

A satisfying, yet surprisingly light meal!

What’s for Dinner? Potato Gnocchi with Peas and Ham Béchamel

Yes, yes… still going through the Kitchen Cabinet cookbook, and ham happens to be the major meat store–good thing I’m a fan.  But I will say it again–you can substitute any protein of your choosing.

For this recipe, I took my lovely chopped ham and added it to my own Béchamel Sauce.  In English, that’s simply melted butter mixed with flour, and hot milk.  

But I decided to throw in some traditionally Carbonara Sauce ingredients: peas, ham and a twist–my wild mushrooms.  I even poured in some of the mushroom broth to extend the sauce.  Sprinkle in some pepper, and ooh la la, yummy for the tummy!

I stock packaged Gnocchi, which is a potato pasta; it soaks up all that good stuff.  Gnocchi is easy, cheap, and if you have the potatoes, something that you can make from scratch.  But that, my friends, is a recipe for another day.

To modify an advertising slogan: Stay hungry, my friends.